Posts Tagged ‘video’

Put your screen recording woes to rest with Screencast-o-matic

A successful blog post is made of three important elements: text, images, and video. While you may think that your text should be enough to describe your concept properly, walking that extra mile with an image doesn’t hurt. A picture speaks more than a thousand words, doesn’t it? But what works better than images, are videos; especially when you are trying to explain a complex concept. You need to monitor your post traffic to understand if your audience gets hitched on to your content easily without getting confused or intimidated with long and complex words. Videos are the best thing that have happened to the Internet; which is why more and more organizations are opting for video instructions than textual documentation.

A live walkthrough of the application that you are giving to the market, a quick demo of the new concept you are going to teach in class, tutorials to educate your team on the new tool, all of these require videos. While there are quite a few software applications available in the market that will help you create videos, what will be really nice is creating a video without actually learning the mechanics of recording combined videos.

Enter Screencast-o-matic!

Screencast-o-matic: All you need to know about this cool video creating tool

The simplicity of Screencast-o-matic is its USP. Once you perform a video recording of your screen, all you have to do is upload it to your sharing platform and that is it. Take a look at few of the many amazing features of this tool.

  • Free version entitles you to 15-minute recordings. With Pro you can record longer videos.
  • Editing Tools to make your videos more appealing (Pro version)
  • Option to add audio scripts to your recordings (Pro version)
  • Simultaneous recording of the screen along with the Webcam turned on. Or you could record only the screen or only with the Webcam turned on.
  • Direct publishing of content to YouTube. Also, you can save your content online as a video file on Screencast-o-matic’s portal.
  • Option to publish videos to Google Drive, Vimeo, and Dropbox (Pro version)
  • Easy to use. Even if you are beginner, you will find no trouble learning how to record videos of the screen.
  • They have a free version available, which comes with only a few hindrances. What’s more! The Paid version (Pro) is pretty cheap at $15 a year.

This is how it rolls

Visit Screencast-o-matic’s homepage and click on the blue button that says “Start Recording”. You’ll be directed to a page where you can choose between using a free trial or registering for a paid pro version. Our suggestion would be to try the tool out first before investing in it, so click on the green button that says “Launch Recorder”. This will download the tool launcher to your system. The executable will be named WebLaunchRecorder.exe. It is a legitimate download so you don’t need to worry about malware.

Once the download is complete, install and run the set-up file. After the setup is complete, the system will prompt you to select an option. For the free version, select the Use FREE Recorder option. You can start recording with one of the following options:

  • Record with the Webcam switched on without the screen
  • Record only the screen without the Webcam switched on
  • Record both the screen and the Webcam

To start recording, click the Rec button at the bottom left of the screen. The system displays a small timer that times everything that is being recorded. To pause or stop the recording, click the Rec button again. When you press the button for the second time, the system will display the following message:

Delete everything and start over?

Don’t panic, simply choose an appropriate option. If you have finished recording, click Done and the system will display a preview of your recording. If you want to delete your recording, click the Trash Can icon. To save your recording, choose one of the following options:

  • Save the video locally on your system with one of the following extensions: AVI, MP4, etc.
  • Upload your video to YouTube.
  • Upload your video to Screencast-o-matic.

The Good and the Bad

Let’s visit the plus points of the tool first:

  • Once you start working on the tool, it is pretty simple to navigate and get stuff done.
  • Since the tool allows you to directly upload your content to YouTube you don’t need to waste any extra time in saving it locally and going through the tedious procedure of publishing.
  • Screecast-o-matic allows you to record from both sources simultaneously, which means you save the time you would have spent if using more than one software application to combine both videos.

Now for the negatives:

  • Because Screencast-o-matic requires a constant internet connection to record everything, it gets inconvenient for users to work offline.
  • For users trying out the free version, full-screen recording is not enabled. You will have to buy the Pro version for full-screen recording.
  • The free version comes with a 15 minute limit of recording time. Of course, the Pro version does not have this limitation.
  • Another disadvantage of using the free version is that it comes without the ability to use the computer’s audio recording system. The Pro version can be used to overcome this limitation.
  • Record on-screen activity without any hassle, try @screencasto screencast-o-matic.com/ today via @supermonitoring

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Wrapping it up

While the free version is quite limited in functionality, it is still pretty useful for people wanting to make a quick recording of a short presentation or video call. Most of the limitations of the free version are not applicable to the Pro version, which in turn is not very expensive. We urge you to give Screencast-o-matic a try. Since videos are quickly becoming a must in all blog posts, Screencast-o-matic could become quite a handy tool for you.

Whiteboard animation made easy by VideoScribe

Vibrant colors coming to life, hand drawings of complicated charts, ideas that demand a world of their own; you get all this and more if you have your animation down pat! With the increase in its trend, animation is one of the most sought-after marketing techniques. It is widely used in branding, imaging, education, and a lot of other fields. Until now, Microsoft PowerPoint was the popular choice to help with those arrow tricks and zooming gradients. But that has changed; with the rising demand for cool animation tricks, comes the increase in the number of animation software options available in the online market. However, one fact remains established: Animation is the key to any marketing proposition you make to capture your audiences’ attention.

Now that that’s established, if you wanted to use animation marketing for your latest project, how would you go about selecting the right tool? Of course you’d need something easy to use so you can avoid the need of seeking help from a professional. At the same time, you need to avoid doing a sloppy job of it. You need to ensure that the end product looks as good and as professional as an expert would do it.

That’s exactly where tools like VideoScribe come into the picture.

VideoScribe – Making Doodling Fun!

Created by Sparkol in 2012, VideoScribe has seen a surge in their number of customers, and for excellent reasons too. They are at the top of their game when it comes to whiteboard animation, and have gained customers in not only the marketing industry but also in government agencies. VideoScribe has been used to create presentations by the US government, the Swedish parliament, and the UK government.

The animation software allows you to create engaging presentations without the help of a professional. It can be installed as a desktop program on both, Mac and Windows. What’s more, you can download its application on tablets running Android or iOS. The interface that VideoScribe provides is intuitive. A little playing around with the application and you will know what all the icons do and what templates are available. Additionally, you get guidebooks and tutorials to help you create engaging presentations.

Some of the most attractive features of the tool include:

  • A huge library of high-quality images to add to your presentation. You have the option to purchase premium images if you can’t find a suitable free one.
  • Support for video size and resolution modification.
  • Vast collection of royalty-free music to add your video.
  • Voiceovers can be imported or recorded.
  • Ability to add your own watermark / logo (premium feature).
  • MOV, WMV, and AVI file formats for your video output. JPG and PNG sequence offered too.
  • Facility to share whiteboard presentations on Facebook and YouTube or covert them to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
  • Saving projects online while working on them offline.

Created on one device, your VideoScribe presentations can be downloaded to multiple other devices.

Tool working

After you have downloaded and installed VideoScribe, you can start creating your very first scribe. While the software does come with a guidebook and tutorial, here are a few easy steps that will help you monitor your ideas come to life:

  • Launch VideoScribe and click on ‘Create a New Scribe’.
  • Click on ‘Add an image to the canvas’ and type what you are looking for in the keyword search field.
  • After you select the image, you can make changes to its resolution, size, or color in the ‘Image Properties’ window. All effects that you add to your image come with a preview.
  • Click ‘Add text to the canvas’ and type the text in the ‘Add text’ window. You can change the font, size, and color of the text.
  • Click on ‘Add a chart to the canvas’ and select the type of chart, dates for data depiction, and color in the Add chart window.
  • Click ‘Add or change a music track for this scribe’ and select a track by browsing for it in the ‘Browse music’ window.
  • Click ‘Add or change the voiceover for this scribe’ and click Record in the Voiceover window.
  • You can also change the background paper for your whiteboard presentation by clicking ‘Change the paper texture and color’ and selecting one of the available options in the ‘Paper options’ window.
  • Click ‘Select a different default hand for this scribe’ and select one of the options in the ‘Select hand’ window. You could even add something of your own by clicking the ADD YOUR OWN button.
  • To save your creation, click on Save or export this scribe -> Take a single snapshot to a PDF document. To save the scribe locally, type the name of the scribe in the ‘Save scribe’ window and save it on your system. To save your scribe online, click on ‘Save (export) online’. To export your scribe, click ‘Export to a “scribe” file’. To import your file back, click ‘Import’ and save it locally.
  • To publish your project, you must create a video file. Click ‘Publish (render) your scribe video’ and you will be able to share your video on Facebook and YouTube.

Pros VS Cons

Why we love VideoScribe

  • Ease of use.
  • The massive library of high-quality images and sound tracks.
  • Eliminates the need of a professional.

What we wish it would offer

  • Something that the others in its competition are offering: sketch to video. The sketching of a video before it plays is a good-to-have feature, and bundled with VideoScribe, it would really be the whole package.
  • The lifetime package of this software does come at a price too steep. If you are just starting out, investing in an expensive product like this one might not be a good idea.
  • Create whiteboard-style animation videos easily with VideoScribe videoscribe.co/ by @SparkolHQ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

Overall, we’d say that VideoScribe does the job and does it well! The best part about it is that you can find out for yourself and test its mettle by trying it out for free. So go, download it right away!

Get a peek at what customers do on your website with SmartLook

Convinced you’ve built a great website but aren’t sure why the bounce rate keeps rising? Put attractive options and deals you can on your webpage but still can’t crack your target sales? The problem might very well lie with the design of your website or the information you provide. But how will you get to know what’s wrong? Who should you consult to highlight what you’re missing out?

How about letting the customers show you themselves?

What we’re getting at is that there are tools available online that let you monitor customer behavior by letting you either view their browsing patterns directly or record whatever they do on your website and review it later to gather insights. That way you get to know what customers like or dislike on your webpage and make improvements to achieve your targets better.

Interested yet?

SmartLook – Record customer activity on your website

SmartLook is a smart online tool that lets you record everything visitors do on your website, for free. It records screens of real users as they visit your website so that you can see what visitors clicked, what data they filled into forms, which pages they spend most of their time on, and how they browse through each of your website’s sections. This way, SmartLook can help you identify user experience problems, the reason behind increase in bounce rates, and key attractive areas that convinced users to make purchases.

And if you’re wondering it would require you to install some kind of browser extension or plug-in to activate, well it doesn’t. SmartLook integrates seamlessly with some of the most well known website building platforms including WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Google Tag Manager, and many more.

Here’s a look at the tool’s best features:

  • Record user behavior as videos and them instantly to reveal improvement points
  • Maintain all recordings of a particular visitor at one place
  • Generate click, move, and heatmaps from the recordings to watch where your visitors click and how far they scroll down the page
  • Find important visitors using filters
  • Share links of user recordings with your UX designers or developers so that everyone can spot issues
  • Link multiple websites with a single SmartLook account
  • Categorize recording using tags
  • Use tool APIs to link customer’s name, email or other info from your system

Additionally, SmartLook also lets you record visitor activity from mobiles and tablets. The tool is flexible enough to let you adjust recordings as per your needs using APIs.

Use SmartLook like this

To start using the tool, visit its website and click on the big green button in the center of the screen that says “Get Started – Free Forever” or click on “Get Started Now” in the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll be directed to a signup page where all you need to provide is your email id and create a password. Thereafter, click on “Let’s take a look”.

After a couple of seconds you’ll reach your dashboard. Okay you need to pay attention to a little catch here. By default, the email id that you provide during signup will be taken as your website name. This setting is kind of strange but anyways. Click on “Switch website” to enter the URL of your website on which you wish to record user activity. You’ll see some options to edit and then delete site. Once we deleted the email id, we clicked on “Add site” to provide our website’s URL.

Once the website was added, we clicked on “Tracking code” to view the snippet we needed to place on our website. The instructions regarding where to place the code were also given there. We placed the code at the appropriate place in our website’s page and waited for a couple of minutes. Thereafter, to test out if the tool worked, we opened up a browser window and visited the pages where we’d placed the tracking code.

The recording didn’t show up instantly, but after about a minute, it was listed with complete information about our browsing environment, date and time of visit. We could view the recording just as it had happened. The tool even informed us that “the visitor is still on your website” for the time we hadn’t closed the window where we were browsing our website.

So yes, SmartLook works, and it works well. But you’ll have to be a little patient and allow it to get updated with the latest results.

Pros VS Cons

The benefits of the tool are obvious. As far as the downsides are concerned, when we tested its working on a mobile device, the recordings didn’t show up for almost 3 minutes after we’d started browsing. We tried filtering the tool to pick up recordings only for mobile devices but still nothing. As we were about to pen it down as a con, the recordings showed up. The browsing activity on the mobile device was also recorded with all information of the environment and time and duration of visit.

And considering we didn’t need to give any credit card information for all this and neither were we asked to register, the free tool came off as pretty cool!

  • See your website through your visitors’ eyes with smartlook.com/ @getSmartlook via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

There is a pricing model for the tool that allows you to access premium features, but for most purposes, the free account should suffice. All in all, double thumbs up to SmartLook from our end.

Convert files between multiple formats with Cloud Convert

I’ve often found myself getting annoyed when a downloaded movie doesn’t play on my movie player due to format incompatibilities. The same applies to music. Sometimes, format also hinders my work when a document or presentation created on one computer won’t be accessible or viewable on another computer that doesn’t have the software with which I created it. Such minor issues can transform into huge problems when your professional deadlines approach and you can’t successfully transfer your work from one machine to another to discuss or share your team’s opinions. And the worst scenario is when after spending hours into creating a presentation with effects, music and transitions you’re up there trying to play it and it won’t play as expected due to incompatibilities on the target computer.

We often find ourselves in similar situations stuck due to format incompatibilities. The smart way however to deal with such situations is to have the same material ready in multiple formats with you so that even if one doesn’t work, the other can save the day. For that you need to rope in a trusty format converter. However, unfortunately, most format converters available online are either restricted to particular formats or don’t complete the task until you pay a hefty sum for them or worse, are laden with malware.
But, with Cloud Convert, all such problems seem to be resolved at last!

cloudconvert

Cloud Convert – The ultimate format converter!

The purpose of Cloud Convert is instantly clear when you visit the tool’s website. That is, to convert anything to anything. You read that right; it is actually a universal converter that can convert audios, videos, archive files, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images as well as Ebooks from multiple formats into multiple formats. And that’s not all. This brilliant online tool can also convert fonts, vectors, cad files and entire websites (html files). Wow!

The best part of this unique converter is that you don’t need to install anything on your machine. Everything is online, on the cloud. Just select your source and target formats, upload your files and let the tool do its job. We know what you’re thinking. You’re probably worried about the safety of the files you upload right? Well, you don’t need to worry. Cloud Convert doesn’t let anyone else apart from you access your files. Plus, your files are deleted as soon as their conversion is completed.

With powerful API support, you can even use the full functionality of Cloud Convert in your own applications. So basically you can transform the converter into much more if you want to. To read more about it just click on the “API” link on the main menu of the website. Moreover, almost all conversion types support advanced options such as setting the codecs of audio / video files, folder monitoring and batch converting. With over 210 different files formats, Cloud Convert makes sure that once you’ve used it, you’ll never even think about any other format converter.

How it works

On the homepage of the tool, you’ll find a clearly placed line that says, “convert anything to anything” in large letters. On hovering the mouse over the underlined words ‘anything’, you’ll find out they’re actually links. Click on them to open a drop-down listing the type of conversions available. The following types of conversions are available:

  • Anything
  • Archive
  • Audio
  • Cad
  • Document
  • Ebook
  • Font
  • Image
  • Presentation
  • Spreadsheet
  • Vector
  • Video
  • Website

cloudconvert1

Each of these categories has a further categorization into the format that you wish to select as source and target. For example, you can select Presentation -> pptx (MS PowerPoint presentation) as source and Presentation -> odp (Open Office Presentation) as target. That way you can have your MS Office presentation working fine even if the target machine has Open Office installed.
If you let the selection stay at anything to anything, you have all options available to upload your files. These include:

  • Add from URL
  • Choose from Dropbox
  • Choose from Google Drive
  • Choose from OneDrive
  • Choose from Box

Depending upon the formats you choose as source and targets, these choices will become restricted. There’s one small catch here – while all other options for uploading are available straightaway, to upload files through OneDrive, you’ll need to sign up for a free Cloud Convert account first. Signing up is very easy, just a username, password, email and a verification code are required. No mess, no problem!
Once you’ve selected the files to be converted, you can choose to receive a notification once the conversion has finished and also pick where you wish the converted file to be stored – to your Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or box account. After this, just click on the big red button that says “Start Conversion” and experience the magic!

Additional Features

The makers of Cloud Convert have offered easy app adding buttons on the bottom of the screen to add Cloud Convert to Chrome or an iOS app (like iTunes). Just click on these buttons and you’ll be redirected to the respective pages where you can see detailed descriptions about these features. Additionally, to see what all formats can be converted and into which all formats, click on the “Conversion Types” link on the main menu of the website.

Pros VS Cons

Do we really need to repeat the pros? Conversion from anything to anything, literally; that too, accurate, reliable and free. This tool is a clear winner!
Honestly, we couldn’t find a flaw. Even the pricing packages are so affordable that it would be wrong to call this tool expensive. Check out the pricing for Cloud Convert through the “Pricing” link on the main menu.

  • Convert between 200+ file formats with @CloudConvert cloudconvert.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

This was one tool that made us go “Wow!” with its simplicity, usefulness and approach. Use it and experience its worth right now!

My Web Toolkit: Rand Fishkin

Last time we have interviewed the creator of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Hello Bar. Today we present you a SEO Guru.

Rand Fishkin is best known for creating Moz (former SEO Moz) – a popular SEO platform offering inbound marketing software, tools and resources.
He also co-founded inbound.org – the community for marketing professionals.

Rand is very popular because of his blogs, where he shares his great knowledge: the official Moz Blog and his personal Rand’s Blog.
I guess you might have heard of Whiteboard Friday – a series of short videos, full of valuable insight, made by Rand and his colleagues.

Rand lives and works in Seattle. Privately he travels a lot with his charming wife Geraldine, who describes their journeys on her blog.

Rand Fishkin

Twitter Google+ Facebook Linkedin Slideshare Foursquare

Rand’s Top Web Apps

Here are the top web apps Rand Fishkin uses and recommends:

  • gmail Gmail“for almost everything in my life, personal and professional”
  • 7Geese 7Geese“for intra-company OKRs, 1:1s, feedback, etc. at Moz”
  • Moz Fresh Web Explorer“for tracking mentions and links about myself, Moz, and projects I care about; it’s vastly superior to Google Alerts”
  • followerwonk Followerwonk“for Twitter analytics, connecting to new people, and improving my use of Twitter (which is my primary social network)”
  • googleanalytics Google Analytics“for web analytics”
  • surveymonkey SurveyMonkey“for designing surveys, collecting data, and aggregating feedback”
  • bitly Bitly“for tracking my social sharing”
  • wistia Wistia“for my Whiteboard Friday videos”
  • pocket Pocket“to collect articles I read later (usually on plane flights)”
  • .@randfish Top Web Apps: @Gmail, @7geese, FreshWebExplorer by @moz, @followerwonk, @GoogleAnalytics, @SurveyMonkey, @bitly, @wistia, @pocket

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Web Apps Rand is involved in

“All the Moz tools – yup! But none of the others.”

How does Rand find his apps?

“No specific blogs, but I do follow a number of folks on Twitter and Google+ who occasionally mention new tools/apps I try. For example, I found Conspire.com via Google+ and love it.”

That’s it.
Stay tuned for another “My Web Toolkit” interview!

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